When "cutting-edge" buzzwords dull your pitch

CupcakeWhen you read the following pitch, put yourself in a journalist’s shoes. What stands out to you? How about the underlined buzzwords that wildly tout the world’s most technologically advanced cupcake?

Dear Fred,

A leading innovator in the baked goods space has just released an extensive line of unique cupcakes. These dynamic pastries are a premier award-winner and the best choice for any gathering.

That’s right, Greendough Cupcakes, the largest provider of cupcake and cupcake-related solutions is offering an exclusive story for you. With state-of-the-art frosting, cutting-edge sprinkles and a smart, real-time online ordering system, Greendough is easy-to-use, providing flexibility and top taste.

If you’d like to write about the biggest company with the fastest growing line of cupcakes in the world of baked goods, please take a look at the attached press release for more information.  

Regards,

Harry

If you’re selling the product, you might be excited after reading this. If you are a journalist, you probably stopped reading after the first few lines.

Common business language is the bane of a good pitch and these underlined words are among the top 20 found in press releases on a day-to-day basis. When a release like this is run through PRFilter – a website that aggregates press releases – these words appeared a combined 5,002 times…in 24 hours!

One of the most common tips from journalists about pitching is to cut out the jargon and get to the key points. In the pitch above, the buzzwords may have been catchy, but what did you really learn about these cupcakes? My guess is very little.

A story has to be built around the pitch. Why are these cupcakes so unique? What made them an award-winner? How can a cupcake be cutting-edge? These questions need to be answered already if you want any hope of garnering media attention.

The most important point to stress is that your target needs to be interested in what you’re pitching, before you even contact them. This means you have to do your homework, learn what they write and pick out the points in a story that will be appealing to them. Blanket business language will not achieve this and a generic, impersonalized pitch is an even bigger turn-off. If you’re pitching cupcakes, you don’t want a journalist to respond that they only cover nanotech, not dessert-tech. So, get to know your reporter and speak their language and you’ll never have to write a dynamic, innovative, state-of-the-art pitch again.

Contributed by Andy Fosbrook. Follow him @atfosbrook